The Leafs enter a new era tonight ahead of their first home game of 2015 and first under the direction of interim head coach Peter Horachek. Here's a sampling of what the team had to say after today's morning skate...
James van Riemsdyk on the challenge ahead:
We've just got to play more consistently. We've shown in spurts what we're capable of doing, it's just a matter of finding that consistency.
Phil Kessel on getting the team off to a good start under Peter Horachek:
We've got to play the right way. We've got to do the little things. We've got to work hard. We've got to play good defence. We score enough goals, we've got to play better defence and I think we'll be okay.
Roman Polak on the defensive play:
In Minnesota we lost but we still played as five guys. We were tied in Boston with the same thing. Then we spread out and get away from things and the result of that was the game in Winnipeg. We didn't play tight as five guys on the ice. That's the thing we have to work on, that's the thing we have to fix and I think we'll be good once we fix it.
Peter Horachek on his relationship with Barry Trotz:
He's a good friend. We worked together for 10 years and we know each other fairly well. He's a competitor, he's very prepared and I learned a lot from him. Hopefully I can bring that forward and continue it. You make friends in the game and that's an important part of the game. That stays forever and I feel fortunate that our paths have crossed.
Here are tonight's projected lineups for the Maple Leafs and Capitals...
Toronto Maple Leafs
26 Winnik - 43 Kadri - 81 Kessel
21 van Riemsdyk - 42 Bozak - 25 Santorelli
47 Komarov - 23 Smith - 71 Clarkson
18 Panik - 53 Carrick - 36 McKegg
3 Phaneuf - 4 Franson
44 Rielly - 46 Polak
51 Gardiner - 55 Holzer
8 Ovechkin - 19 Backstrom - 65 Burakovsky
90 Johansson - 92 Kuznetsov - 20 Brouwer
21 Laich - 16 Fehr - 42 Ward
25 Chimera - 83 Beagle - 43 Wilson
44 Orpik - 74 Carlson
27 Alzner - 2 Niskanen
38 Hillen - 52 Green